Monthly Archives: April 2010


I may have let it get out of hand a little.

It's in hand now. See? All cute again.

A sweater has been completed and worn, even by a self-professed "non-sweater guy"

Little plants.

Proud hiker.

In un-photo-documented events, we tried to take the kids canoeing today.  That didn’t work out well.  H was scared and wanted to get out, and then C seemed to want to go with him, so they stayed at a neighbors while Brad and I took a short spin downriver.  Saw a pair of hooded mergansers!


Nitty Gritty 2010

I wish that post title meant I am attending a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert, but alas.    All I dare ask of my concert-going life anymore is that Willie Nelson live long enough for me to see him live.    Live, Willie, live!

Nitty gritty is the garden, and this post has the details.  I know you all looooove gardening details.

My garden this year is a melange of approaches, all vying with each other for greatest success at lowest cost.  Here are the three:

  1. Raised beds, following the Square Foot Gardening approach, but with less vermiculite than called for because, oh please.  1/3 vermiculite is way too much.  These cost a lot, but will probably be  comparatively low-maintenance and high-yielding.
  2. Regular , in-the-ground bed, with soil amendment, and weed barrier over top.  No other mulch.  I want the soil to dry a bit between rains and I want it to be as warm as possible, too.  I plan to actually plant this bed in a sort of square foot manner as well.  This cost much less than the raised beds.
  3. One regular bed with no amendment at all (also known as the lazy and cheap way to plant).    This one was an afterthought and isn’t really comparable to the others since it won’t get as much sun and is right near the house.  And it will have only potatoes and whatever herbs occur to me.   This was free.

Protection from critters will involve only companion plantings (not exhaustively planned, though), regularly-applied stinky repellent, regularly applied cayenne pepper, bird netting where expedient, and chicken wire hats for plants that are small enough.

Cold protection will involve floating row covers, covers over frames (hitherto known as chicken wire hats), and maybe a milk carton or two.

Variety selections this year are much less likely to be heirloom than last year.  A friend put is succinctly last year when he said that “heirloom just means old-fashioned and not as good.”  Or something like that.  That isn’t totally true but, well, it’s not totally untrue either.

Three tomato varieties are started and growing under a fluorescent lamp by my feet as I type — Latah, Oregon Spring, and Big Beef.  Also, some hot peppers, some brussels sprouts, and cilantro, basil, and parsley.  And marigolds and zinnias.

Swiss chard, spinach, turnips, beets, and peas are in the beds outside — at least the first sowing of each of them.  And potatoes.

Nothing out there in the beds has shown its green leafy head yet.

It turns out that H likes coleslaw, so now I need to plant some cabbages.

I built a compost bin last week.  State land regulations be damned.  I know how to compost.  I can’t imagine it will attract bears more than the dumpster.  The squirrels like it, though.

Little C may be my most serious garden pest.  When he’s not trying to drink the water from my rain bucket, he’s climbing in the beds or digging out soil to drop into the rain bucket.


That is C’s first for-sure word:  ukkkhhh.  He says it maybe 300 times a day.  It means truck,and the kiddo has keen ears for passing vehicles, keen eyes for pictures or trucks, and of course, toy trucks, so there is ample need for pointing out trucks.  It’s an ukkhhh world and has been for a few weeks now.  He feels no need, it seems, to move onto other expressions.  He is content with expressing his one idea repeatedly.

Not true, he also says bah (for bye, and maybe for book and maybe for ball) and hi, when playing telephone.  But he only says these other words rarely.

He also got a haircut.  A first real haircut sure ages a person.

H and C have been playing together really well lately.  They are just wrapping up a long session of sit-and-pretend, which was broken up when C ripped a piece of paper that was intended to represent a cupcake.  It lasted about 30 minutes, peacefully, though.

H went fishing this week for the first time.  He was very upset by the discovery that you don’t catch a fish every time you go fishing, but I think he’s come to grips with it now and has been earnestly teaching the 4-year-old neighbor boy the same lesson.  Once my new driver license comes (soon, hopefully) I’ll be able to get a fishing license and it will be easier to take H out fishing.  I swear there will be a picture of the first fish landed.  I hope to heaven it’s not a pike, as those are SCARY and TOOTHY.

The garden is all prepped and a very few seeds are planted out there, with more scheduled this week.  I’ve decided to start fewer things indoors than I had originally planned, so I hope that’s not a mistake for the cucumbers, the Belgian endive, the swiss chard, or the broccoli raab.   Yes, I realize many of those things are already pretty hardy, but I’m impatient, okay?  I did start some peppers and brussels sprouts today.  Both of those are things I had thought I wouldn’t grow, but changed my mind last minute.  I have doubts that the peppers will work out (they’re hot peppers, but I don’t know what kind — seed from a neighbor).  I also have doubts about the sprouts, but my love of sprouts is such that I was overcome and am doing it anyway.

Also, I’m pretty convinced now that I will need to put up a fence.  I’m looking at electric fences and have apologized mentally in advance to C for the shock he is sure to eventually get.  I know it won’t really hurt him; I hope it doesn’t make him hate gardens and soil too much.

I’ve been stalling on this post until I had pictures, but I guess the perfect is the enemy of the good.  That saying has been on my mind a lot lately and explains a lot of challenges.